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Grand Rapids cracks a lot of lists, for a lot of good reasons…..this is not one of them: Living in Grand Rapids is depressing for lots of people

December 9, 2019

Depression is a very serious issue and one that is often misunderstood. Millions of people in the US struggle with depression.

Some experts present depression as more of a chemical issue, while others emphasize sociological factors that determine people who are more susceptible to depression. My own view is that both of these major factors contribute to depression. In fact, part of the problem is that we tend to look at these factors in silos, instead of seeing how they are often intertwined.

This is certainly the case with a recent study that was conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which was cited in an Insurance Providers article, which states that in metropolitan areas of 1 million or more, Grand Rapids has the highest rate of depression nationwide. 

The study on depression was reported on by WZZM 13 recently.  Unfortunately, the channel 13 story was only 35 seconds long and only reported on the data presented in the Insurance Providers article, based on the CDC data. The WZZM 13 story did list contributing factors to stress, as can be seen in this screen shot, here on the right.

Unfortunately, WZZM 13 doesn’t explore any of these dynamics in Grand Rapids and how they are contributing to depression. Essentially, the channel 13 story just repeats a version of a press release, without doing any real work or journalism of any kind. The opening comments from the WZZM 13 news reader makes it clear why the abc affiliate chose not to make this a story, even a series of stories. The news readers introduces the story, by saying, “Grand Rapids cracks a lot of lists, for a lot of good reasons…..this is not one of them.”

So what might be some of the contributing factors for being depressed in Grand Rapids? Here is our running list:

  • Settler Colonialism being at the root of the founding of Grand Rapids.
  • White Supremacy is woven into the fabric of Grand Rapids.
  • Lots of shitty jobs, with wages that require lots of people in Grand Rapids to have more than one job.
  • Gentrification
  • Lack of truly affordable housing.
  • Diversity & Inclusion, instead of dismantling White Supremacy.
  • DeVos, Meijer and other billionaires.
  • A constant reminder of DeVos, Meijer and other billionaires with their names plastered all over Grand Rapids.
  • Working for non-profits that accept funding from DeVos, Meijer and other billionaires.
  • Having to deal with the spiritual violence that churches commit in Grand Rapids.
  • The overt and and covert homophobia and transphobia in Grand Rapids.
  • The GRPD’s treatment of black, latinx and other communities of color in Grand Rapids.
  • The GRPD’s cooperation with ICE in Grand Rapids.
  • The lack of sun and cold winter days.

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